On Monday following the scandal erupting throughout the world after topless photos of Kate Middleton were leaked and subsequently published in several magazines, police began a manhunt for the photographer of the images, Valarie Suau, along with Closer, the original publication.
According to the Evening Standard, lawyers hired by the Palace on Monday night will appear in court with prosecutors to name and open a case against the photographer of the images. The newspaper reported that Suau went into hiding in fear of being found.
Suau identified herself as the photographer of the Middleton bikini photos, but not the topless ones, to the Daily Mail on Saturday. The freelance paparazzi, described by the Standard as having "worked for some of the biggest news agencies in Europe," said she took the "decent" photos in France's La Provence from the road, where Middleton was visible in plain sight.
"She says she was given free rein to do what she liked -- taking pictures of the couple enjoying themselves in full view of the road," a colleague of Suau's told the Daily Mail. "There were other people around, including walkers and cyclists, as well as staff at the chateau. The Duchess was sure to have known this, and perhaps should have been a bit more careful about displaying her body in such a prominent position."
The unnamed source told the British newspaper that Suau, who lives near the Chateau d'Autet in the Provence, has not yet seen police but will remain in hiding.
"Valerie is concerned by the fuss and is keeping a low profile," the source said.
News of the hiding photographer comes the same day legal proceedings began in France. Middleton and Prince William's lawyers will reportedly ask prosecutors to file charges against Suau and Laurence Pieau, the editor of Closer magazine which published the topless photos Friday. According to the Evening Standard, both the editor of the magazine and the photographer can receive up to a one-year prison sentence for publishing the photos. Aurelien Hammelle, the royals' lawyer, is also looking to have Closer removed from newsstands along with an apology or fine and "the stiffest punishment possible" against the publication for the "grotesque" images.
"The complaint concerns the taking of photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge whilst on holiday and the publication of those photographs in breach of their privacy," a royal spokeswoman said.
The lawsuit began the same day as the Irish Star Daily as well as an Italian newspaper called Chi ran a 20-page spread dedicated to the photos with the headline, "Kate Middleton Court Scandal -- The queen is nude!" The newspaper, owned by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Mondadori, shows Middleton topless on its cover as well as 18 images of the Duchess.
So far, the Palace has not announced whether or not it will file charges against Chi or its editor, Alfonso Signorini, who tweeted "not even a direct call from the Queen" would inhibit him from publishing the images of Middleton.
"I really don't see what all the fuss is about. I don't see how a topless photo in 2012 can create all these scandal and controversy. Kate is a very beautiful woman. What is the problem -- and William is also a fine figure of a man," Signorini said. "All Kate is doing is sunbathing topless like millions of other women. They are a normal couple in love. She has a normal figure and we even had an expert cast an eye over it. The Duchess was sunbathing topless on a terrace that looked out onto a public road. Anyone could have come along and taken her picture. Privacy only comes into it if you go onto someone else's property."
Chi is the same publication that sparked anger in 2006 when it published photos of the Princess Diana car crash.
The Palace said the pictures published in Chi further upset to the royal family and "all proportionate responses will be kept under review."
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